TCR Midlands 2022: The role of stations in rail decarbonisation

As a rail industry, we are decarbonising. We’ve made huge strides over the past number of years, and we’ve got huge strides ahead of us still too. Our stations, as a cornerstone of our rail network, are going to be critical in those efforts.

Joining host Helen Fospero on stage at TCR Midlands 2022, three experts on all things stations and sustainability sought to help offer the industry some guidance on how to make the most out of their station decarbonisation efforts.

The panellists were:

  • Simon Woods, Business Development Director, Equans
  • Lucy Harper, Policy Manager, Rail Delivery Group
  • Gareth Williams, Head of Sustainability, Avanti West Coast

When it came to decarbonisation, Simon offered those members of the industry gathered in the room a buzz of excitement and determination, as he backed the sector to respond to the thrown gauntlet of climate change.

He said: “I think the rail industry has a great opportunity. The two main barriers are funding and procurement.”

When it comes to potential challenges for rail improvements, funding is nothing new to the rail sector. However, there appears to presently be a hunger within government and wider industry to commit to and provide green funding and investment which the rail sector can tap into.

The second of those challenges – procurement – was in essence a rallying cry to the rail supply chain gathered in the TCR Midlands venue in Birmingham (and those beyond) to get out there, strike up conversations and showcase their solutions.

Particularly within the stations space, many of our biggest steps forward are likely to come from fresh or innovative thinking; something which was backed by fellow panellist Lucy Harper.

She added: “There are over 2,500 stations on the network. We have to be creative and think more holistically about conservation.

“We need to improve the infrastructure surrounding our stations.”

For Lucy and the fellow panellists, that came down to the rail industry to champion and create opportunities, but also drawing into the conversation local communities and volunteer groups – often some of the most proactive and invested individuals in station improvements, particularly in more rural stations around the UK.

The full TCR Midlands 2022 panel can be viewed above. For more information on attending one of our TransCityRail events, click here.

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